Fatherly Stuff: March 2015

Mar 17, 2015

The Road to Gender Equality

When you first think of  solutions for "women's equality", what are the things the pop into your head? Equal pay? Breaking glass ceilings? Ronda Rousey?

Whatever you were thinking, I'm willing to bet my grandpa's jazz vinyl collection that paternity leave was not very high on your list. According to a recent NPR article however, providing paid leave to men in order for them to stay home with their children just might be another tool for forward progression. The article states:
Granting paid days off to a new dad sets a pattern for both parents to share the caring from the get-go and boosts chances for women to stay in the work force because they're not the sole caregivers.

Which totally makes sense. Looking back to the births of both my children, I remember being told by my respective supervisors (different jobs, with no paternity leave) to "take all the time I need". But reading in between the lines, there was an unspoken expectation that I should be back at work after only a few days, which in retrospect was not nearly enough time. Those early stages of life are critical for bonding and also for establishing the precedent for how the co-parenting duties will be handled between mother and father:

"when men fail to become active co-parents in the first few months of the child's life, it sets up a pattern that is difficult to change."
 The United States certainly seems to be behind on the trend. Currently, there are 92 countries that offer paid maternity leave and 96 which offer paid leave for both mothers and fathers. Of the remaining 9 countries that have neither, the US is the only developed country. While the US does have FMLA that is available, it is not paid and in the scope of baby bonding, only moms can take advantage of it.

We're basically that awkward dude at the wedding who sits arm-crossed at the table while all of his friends are on the dance floor, all because he thinks he's too cool to do the funky chicken. Come on, America. Let's not be "that guy". We're definitely not too cool for the funky chicken. So get your ass up out of that seat and get down with the rest of your buddies.

 In the end,  establishing (and normalizing) paid paternity (and maternity) leave in the US will encourage men to take on the primary caregiver role. This will in turn afford more women the freedom to pursue personal/professional goals without guilt or social pressure. So, you can say that the road to gender equality is paved with diapers, bottles, and baby wipes.

You can read the full article HERE

Mar 10, 2015

Battle Stink (and Stress) with Irish Spring Signature Products

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MySignatureMove #CollectiveBias

With the exception of a slice of New Haven, CT pizza, here isn’t anything on this earth that I love more than my kids (kidding!).  But seriously, as much as they mean to me, I’m not afraid to admit that they can really drive me up a wall every now and then.  It could be because I’ve had a particularly rough day at work, or maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before for some reason (curse you, House of Cards!). Whatever the cause, being able to identify when you need to take a moment to yourself to decompress is a very critical skill to have as a parent.  My wife and I use this skill all the time to communicate exactly when we’re in need of one of our “moments”. During this time, one of us will keep the kiddos occupied while the other gets the opportunity to remove themselves from the immediate proximity of the area in order to go do whatever they want in order to unwind. Now, the specific activity that I like to do during my particular “moment” depends on how much time I’ve been allotted. Usually, my time is limited. And in those cases, my favorite thing, or My Signature Move to execute, is throwing on my robe, heading to the bathroom and taking a nice, hot shower. This might sound crazy, but hear me out:  in a hectic home like mine, the shower is one of the few places that I can find peace and quiet and be alone with my thoughts. It's like my own little fortress of solitude. Sometimes, I'll even play a little music while my worries wash away like the water rolling down my back. During my shower session, are two constant companions that I bring with me:  My Irish Spring Signature Body Wash and/or Bar Soap. I love the scent because it relaxes me and my wife loves the way I smell when I'm done. I always feel like a brand new man afterward who is refreshed and ready to face whatever is thrown at me (even if it’s a giant Lego from the kids).
The other day I had to run to Walmart to grab a couple of groceries. Since I was running low on Irish Spring body wash, I made sure that I stopped by the health and beauty isle in order to restock my supply.

Purchase one of the new Irish Spring Signature products and get $5 off a VUDU purchase! Take a picture of your receipt and then go to http://cbi.as/3boj to upload your receipt. Next step, enjoy watching!

I've talked about the ways that I like to get rid of stress, now I want to hear from you! What other ways do you battle stress? Let me know in the comments!

Mar 8, 2015


Marlin: I promised I'd never let anything happen to him!

Dory: Hmm. That's a funny thing to promise.
Marlin: What?
Dory: Well, you can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo

Truer words have never been spoken by a Blue Tang fish.  At the same time however, I completely empathize with how Marlin was feeling at the moment.  I mean, he wants to do is keep his son safe from all of the bad things that he knows (from firsthand experience) the ocean is capable of. And I (and presumably most fathers) totally get that feeling. 

It was Sunday morning and we were en route to the doctor’s office. What started out as a low-grade fever on Friday by now evolved into a dangerously high one, followed by shallow rapid breathing. The breathing thing is what the doctor told us to look for, so our concern was peaked. We pulled up and the parking lot was almost completely empty. We arrived before the office officially opened and we were seen almost immediately. The pediatrician arrived and we joked that we had to stop seeing each other like this (the 5 year old had second round of strep last week, the toddler had an ear infection before that, the other had pink eye; both had stomach viruses-all within a 4 month span). He gently looked our son over and decided that the best course of action would be for us to head to the children’s ER for chest X-Rays.

“For precautionary reasons”, he claimed. 

His reasoning made sense. But nevertheless, I fidgeted nervously as he broke the news.
At the ER, we were once again seen pretty much right away (side note: if you plan on having an emergency, try to do it on a Sunday morning. The service is amazing).  After he was tagged, weighed and given a syringe full of Motrin, we were whisked off to a room where a very pleasant nurse brought in a few toys for the kids and checked all over the baby’s body for any rashes and took his temperature.  After all of this was done, the orderlies came in and transported my wife, who had our baby in her lap, to get the X-ray performed via hospital bed. Seeing his little brother get carted off was too much for my 5 year old to bear, and he held me tight and shed tears. I assured him that everything would be okay, and even took out my phone to show him a YouTube video of the X-Ray process to put his mind at ease. But inside, I was probably just as worried as he was.
Not too long after, the orderlies brought my wife and son back in our room. Apparently, he slept through the entire thing. The doctor had confirmed that he had pneumonia. As I watched my baby boy sleep, exhausted and rosy-cheeked in his mother’s arms, I felt a lump materialize in my throat.  I’m the poppa bear, his protector. I’m supposed to be the guy who keeps bad things from happening.  I felt so helpless sitting there, I couldn’t help but quietly turn inward and beat up on myself for not washing his hand before his meal last week, or forgetting to apply a dollop of hand sanitizer after he wreaked havoc in the playpen the other day.  All I wanted to do in that moment was take away his suffering, and I would have traded places with him in a heartbeat if I could. 

The kind nurse gave him one more syringe of medicine, gave us a prescription for an antibiotic and answered our questions. We thanked her and the doctor for her time, collected our things and went on about our way.

I’m sure every parent feels that same lump, that sense of helplessness when they witness their child going through something.  But just like Marlin, we eventually come to a point we’ve done all that we can, and all we can do is hope that their child is strong enough to weather the storm. My kid is a fighter, so I know at the end of this battle he’ll come out on top. 

But that won’t ever stop me from trying. And if either of my kids ever need me, they will never have to question if I'll be in their corner.